The Guardian Nigeria
Sunday, June 30, 2013
States’ President, Barrack Obama, on Saturday, linked growing terrorism
in Africa to bad governance but insisted that, “in the case of the Boko
Haram sect, there is (also) the religious rationale for what they are
Obama, who spoke at the African young Leaders’ Town Hall
meeting in Soweto, South Africa, as part of his official tour of Africa,
said the war on terror is not the exclusive preserve of the United
States but a global issue.
The Guardian monitored the session, which was aired by the Cable News Network (CNN).
is not just the problem of the United States; it is a problem for
everybody. When the US Embassy was bombed in Kenya, more Kenyans were
killed than foreigners,” the US President, who clearly avoided Nigeria
in his schedule — and in all his official speeches — said during the
question-and-answer session yesterday.
According to Obama,
regional terror gangs like the Boko Haram in Nigeria, may not have grown
transnational in capacity like others but they are doing a great harm
He explained that the US does not necessarily wish to
get involved in war militarily, even as he stressed that his country
will not likely intervene in specific matters but expects that the whole
of African countries will “collaborate with us to fight” terrorism.
called on African leaders to build capacity to tackle terrorism,
stating that his government will provide training and advice.
The US’ President also hinted that the US is already partnering with Nigeria on education to develop human capital.
to him, the most important investment a nation can make is to develop
its youths and encourage technological development, adding “these days,
businesses can go anywhere to get quality manpower.”
it is the failings of governments that give rise to terrorism, he opined
that responsive and democratic institutions are the best defence
He said: “It is my strong belief that terrorism
is more likely to emerge and take root where countries are not
delivering for their people and where there are sources of conflict and
unaligned frustrations that have not been adequately dealt with.
danger we have right now, for example, in a place like Somalia, is that
it’s been two generations, maybe three, since there was a functioning
government inside of Somalia. We start to see some progress in part
because of intervention by African nations in Somalia to clear the space
and create the space for governance. But you look at what is happening
in Mali, for example, right now, part of the problem is that they have a
weak central government and democratic institutions that weren’t
reaching out as far into the country as necessary.
have to build such institutions of responsiveness, governance and
democracy. Those things become defence mechanism against terrorism. They
are the most important defence against terrorism. I don’t start with
attitude of a military solution to these problems. I think the more we
are giving the people more opportunity, the more we are giving the
people more education, the more we are helping to resolve conflicts
through democratic practices, the less likely they are to take roots.
said that, there are some extremist groups that won’t compromise or
work through a democratic process and we have to also be realistic about
that and what we want to do is to partner with African countries to
figure out how we can help.
“We want to build an African capacity.
We want the African union and every other organisation to build up
their capacity. If they do this, they will be to be able to nip
terrorist cells that may be forming before they even start and gain
strength. We can provide advice and training and, in some cases,
equipment. But we would want nothing more than for Africa collectively
to say no to extremism, no sectarianism, which Boko Haram is an example
of, essentially a religious rationale for this kind of violence.”